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Providing support to relatives and friends managing both chronic physical illness and depression: the views of a national sample of U.S. adults.

Janevic MR, Rosland AM, Wiitala W, Connell CM, Piette JD. Providing support to relatives and friends managing both chronic physical illness and depression: the views of a national sample of U.S. adults. Patient education and counseling. 2012 Oct 1; 89(1):191-8.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To describe how comorbid depression in chronically ill adults affects the willingness of their family and friends to provide them with illness management support. METHODS: We identified a national sample of U.S. adults (n = 1027), all of whom had a close relative or friend with a chronic physical illness. We examined whether respondents were less willing to help their relatives/friends with disease management when they reported that these relatives/friends were also diagnosed with depression. RESULTS: In multivariate models, the odds of respondents being willing to provide disease-management support doubled when the relative/friend was depressed (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.99; 95% C.I. = 1.31, 3.02). Respondents were willing to perform an equal number of illness support tasks for relatives/friends with and without depression. However, respondents reported 30% more difficulties discussing health issues (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.30; 95% C.I. = 1.11, 1.53), and 44% more barriers to providing support (IRR = 1.44; 95% C.I. = 1.18, 1.75) to depressed relatives/friends. CONCLUSION: U.S. adults are more willing to provide disease-management support for chronically ill relatives/friends with depression. However, helping depressed relatives/friends is also more challenging. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: By providing resources for potential supporters, health providers could mobilize an important source of disease-management support for patients with chronic illness and depression.





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